Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems University Technology Centre (Rolls-Royce-UTC)

- TPG main office: Via Montallegro 1, 16145 Genova
- Savona Campus: Via Magliotto 2, 17100 Savona

In June 2004, the DIME-TPG has become the first Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre on fuel cells in the world. Inside this collaboration in the SOFC field TPG is involved in the development of the Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell hybrid system based on the coupling with a SOFC stack with a microturbine. The target is to reach in the short-term a first working prototype of the system. TPG's task is the simulation of such a cycle at on-design, off-design and transient conditions.
Moreover, an emulator test rig was designed (in collaboration with Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems) for hybrid system tests. This rig is composed of a commercial recuperated microturbine (Turbec T100) modified for the fuel cell emulator connection, a set of pipes designed for measurement reasons and to widen the operative range of the machine with a bleed, five valves to control the flow rates during start-up phase and a high temperature modular volume for the fuel cell stack physical simulation.
The fuel cell physical emulator, designed with thorough CFD support, is a thermally insulated modular vessel connected between the recuperator outlet and the combustor inlet, as in a real pressurized hybrid system. This vessel, designed for a maximum temperature of about 630°C (903.15 K), is composed of two collector pipes, connected to the recuperator outlet and the combustor inlet respectively, and five module pipes connected to both collectors. Several tests were carried out with this rig including start-up and shutdown phases related to SOFC based hybrid systems. This test rig also includes an anodic recirculation system, designed on the basis of a hybrid system power of about 450 kW and a system efficiency of 59%. It is composed of a fuel line (for fuel cell fuel flow emulation), an anodic single stage ejector, and the anodic volume. The fuel line has been designed to supply the ejector primary duct with an air mass flow rate (for fuel cell fuel flow emulation) up to 20 g/s. It consists of a 15 kW air compressor, an air dryer, and the flow (MP), pressure (PEjP1), and temperature (TEjP1) sensors. The anodic ejector generates the recirculation flow rate through this system as in a typical SOFC hybrid system.